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Did Borax Evolve Into 20-Mule Teams?

You’re dating yourself if you remember the old TV western Death Valley Days, and its commercials about 20-Mule Team Borax.  (Mule teams actually did pull loads of borax from Death Valley to Mojave, quite a feat in those days, but that’s another story.)  In modern times, though, borax has made science news as a possible […]

Must Life Drink Water?

Star Trek used to portray aliens made up of different stuff than the carbon and water chemistry which comprises Earth-based life.  For years, most scientists who considered the possibility of life in space, including Carl Sagan and Stanley Miller, admitted, somewhat reluctantly, that the periodic table of the elements admits no practical alternatives to water […]

Photosynthesis Began a Billion Years Earlier Than Thought

According to the BBC News, some scientists have pushed back the evolution of photosynthesis a billion years earlier than previously believed, to 3.9 billion years ago.  This is based on uranium-thorium ratios of rocks in Greenland that led Danish researchers to conclude that they were deposited under oxidizing conditions.  Others are not sure the data […]

Wet-Marsers Win, But Life Unlikely

The discovery of evidence for past water on Mars made Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year.1  Most recently, the Spirit rover found goethite, an iron oxide that forms most readily in water, announced a JPL press release Dec. 13.  Although Richard A. Kerr at Science feels this second discovery on the opposite side of Mars […]

Miller-Frankenstein Ghost Rises from the Dead

51; Stanley Miller died last year, but his friendly ghost lives on.  Famous for his Halloweenish spark-discharge apparatus that brought naturalism to life, Miller subsequently began to doubt the simplistic “primordial soup” vision that took on a life of its own, making apparitions in many a textbook.  He realized that improbably atmospheric conditions—a reducing atmosphere […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Let Darwin Take Over

Jack Szostak (Harvard Medical Center) wins this week’s prize for a comment in an Associated Press article (see PhysOrg) claiming that scientists will create life in a test tube within 10 years.  Szostak was explaining the process of creating a cell membrane to the reporter: His idea is that once the container is made, if […]

Darwin Propagandist Reveals Too Much

You can’t always tell a chocolate by its coating.  Similarly, a positivistic, pro-evolution article might have surprises inside.     “Billions of years of evolution have produced organisms of stunning diversity,” begins E�rs Szathm�ry in the Feb. 17 issue of Current Biology,1 with vintage Darwinian confidence.  A theoretician at heart, Szathm�ry explores the evolutionary transitions […]
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